What Exactly is Design Management and Why Should you Study Something so Enigmatic?

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Photo credit: Marie Breton

What exactly is Design Management? I’m sure you’ve spent hours pondering over this very question. Laiqa Ahmad, a first year Design Management student unveils the enigma. She shares her thoughts on studying design management at the heart of an art school.

How have you found your first year so far? 

It’s been really good! I really love the program, it’s perfect for me because I love art, but I also enjoy the organizational and practical side to the business world. The Design Management program at PCA has given me an appreciation of French literature and art history, however at the same time, I’m studying marketing and value propositions. Design Management is usually taught in business schools; however, I think it’s really good to be studying this subject alongside artists in an art school because as a future design manager, I need to have an understanding of how artists think. I’m also creating good contact links for when I start my own career as I’m going to need to work alongside photographers and creatives. I’m sure I’ll work with some of the people I’ve met here at PCA!

What do you think differs design managers to traditional artists?

Design managers bridge the creative and free spirited side of art with the logical and rational side of business. We look into history, literature, design, business and marketing. It’s more of a theoretical and analytical subject.  As a design manager, I need to have an understanding of what can inspire art, such as politics and social movements as well as the marketing, copyright and business development side to the industry. By understanding the dialogue between the two worlds, I can bring a practical side to art and actually sell and promote what is being created.

What has been the most challenging part of your first year?

The most challenging aspect has definitely been the business side to the course. I’ve never studied business, so I’ve had to do a lot of extra reading around the subject, looking at marketing journals and magazines to get to know that world a little more.

What have you most enjoyed about your course? 

What I really like about the course is the fact that I can choose electives. I can shape the path I take towards my future career. Another Design Management freshman year could look very different to mine. We have the opportunity to create bespoke degrees. Also, the way teachers assess you is not test based, it’s more about the essays you write and your class engagement; how you take part in debates. It’s very engaging!

What would you say to a student thinking about studying Design Management? 

I think students can be put off by the word “management”. People need to realise that Design Management is the analysis of the design world. It’s looking at the social, political and economic context to art and design. I think Design Management is a great option for students who have knowledge of the art and design world, but who maybe don’t enjoy the studio side to it. Design Management opens up so many opportunities. It’s a great option for someone who doesn’t necessarily want to become an artist but who loves design and who is more interested in process than the final product.

Interested in studying Design Management at PCA? Find out more about the course here!